Sunday, May 20, 2012

Agra


Agra-tajmahal
Taj Mahal
History of AgraAgra has a rich historical background, which is amply evident from the numerous historical monuments in and around the city. The earliest reference for Agra comes from the epical age, when Mahabharata refer Agra as Agravana. In the sources prior to this, Agra has been referred as Arya Griha or the abode of the Aryans. The first person who referred Agra by its modern name was Ptolemy.
Though the heritage of Agra city is linked with the Mughal dynasty, numerous other rulers also contributed to the rich past of this city. Modern Agra was founded by Sikandar Lodhi (Lodhi dynasty; Delhi Sultanate) in the 16th century. Babar (founder of the Mughal dynasty) also stayed for sometime in Agra and introduced the concept of square Persian-styled gardens here. Emperor Akbar built the Agra fort and Fatehpur Sikri near Agra. Fatehpur Sikri remained his capital for around fifteen years after which the city was left isolated in mysterious circumstances. Jahangir beautified Agra with palaces and gardens despite spending most of his time in Kashmir with which he was passionately attached.
Agra came to its own when Shahjahan ascended to the throne of Mughal Empire. He marked the zenith of Mughal architecture, when he built the Taj in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. In his later years, Shahjahan shifted his capital to the new city of Shahjahanabad in Delhi and ruled from there. Shahjahan was dethroned in 1658 by his son, Aurangzeb who imprisoned him in the Agra Fort. Aurangzeb shifted the capital back to Agra till his death. After the death of Aurangzeb, Mughal Empire could not touch its peak and many regional kingdoms emerged. The post-Mughal era of Agra saw the rule of the Jats, Marathas and finally the British taking over the city.

Origin and DevelopmentAgra is the city of the inimitable Taj Mahal. The story of Agra beigns much earlier then the Taj, However it finds mention in the epic Mahabharata when it was called Agrabana are Paradise. Ptolemy, the famous second century A.D. geographer, marked it on his map of the world as Agra. Tradition and legend ascribe the present city of Raja Badal Singh (around 1475 A.D.) whose Fort, Badalgarh, Stood on or near the site of the present Fort. However, the 12th century A.D. persian poet Salman, too, Speaks of a desperate assault on the forrtress of Agra, then held by one King Jaipal, by sultan Mahmud of Ghazni. It was Mughals who finally nurtured Agra with the finest monuments architects could design : The Taj Mahal  of Shah Jhan, Agra Fort of Akbar, Itmad-Ud-Daulah and neighbouring Sikandra are but few of the many that spangle the city, each of which stands in mute testimony to the city's grandur over the ages.

Location, Boundaries and WeatherThe Agra district is situated in western U.P. between   27.11' degree Latitude North and 78.0' degree to 78.2' degree Longitute East. Its Altitude is 169 meters above sea level. On the North it is bounded by Mathura District, On the South it is bounded by Dhaulpur District, On the East it is bounded by   Firozabad District and On the West it is bounded by Bharatpur. Agra is situated on the bank of Yamuna river.
In Agra Maximum Temperature in Summer is 45°C and minimum temperature is about 21.9°C and in Winter maximum temperature is 131.7°C and minimum tempreature is about 4.2D°C. Best season for tourist is from October to March.

Area and PopulationAccording to Census 1991, the are of Agra district is 4027.00 sqr. km., Where Rural area is 3838.60 sqr. km. and Urban area is 188.40 sqr. km.. Its Total Population is 27,51,021 out of which Males are 15,01,927 and Females are 12,49,094. Of the Total Population, 16,39,935 constitute the Rural Population and 11,11,086 are makes the Urban Population.

Infrastructure
The Agra district is divided into Six Tehsils and 15 Blocks. Total number of Nayay Panchayats in the district are 114 while Gram Sabhas stands at 636. The total populated villages are 904. The total number of police stations in the district are 41 out of which 16 are in Urban area and 25 are in Rural area. The total number of Railway Stations (including Halts) are 29 and Bus Stands/Bus Stops are 144. Total number of Broad Guage lines is 196 K.M. and Meter Guage is 35 K.M..   


EconomyAlthough tourism contributes to a large extent in the economy of Agra, the city has a substantial industrial base. A lot of manufacturing plants and industry related wholesale markets is prominent in Agra. Agra Industries are doing a fine job in various fields. Producers and dealers of Agra deal in different products and has a vast market to support them. The economy of Agra is also dependant on indrustrial production. But, the cities industrial base also produces automobiles, leather goods, handicrafts and stone carving.Agra has a good number of apparel and garment manufacturers and exporters. Some of the leading names in the industry are Kamlesh Exports, Jsn International, India Craft etc.Agra has also developed a thriving export business. Agra has developed an important market for the automobile industry. Anil Diesels, Benara Auto, Harvest Group of Industries and Malloys India are some of the major players of the automobile industry in Agra. The leather industry is among the most traditional and original industries of Agra. Today, Agra's economy is mainly dependant on tourism. This city is home to some of the most prestigious spas, resorts and hotels in all of India. In fact, one of the largest spas in all of Asia is the Kaya Kalp which is located in the Hotel Mughal. Primarily the Economy of the Agra district is agriculture based while the economy base of Agra city is Small Scale Industries, Commerce and Trade. Major crops 

More Agra Information / Fast Facts and Orientation
  • Country: India (north)
  • Location: Uttar Pradesh
  • Status: city (state capital)
  • Population: approximately 1.3 million
  • Language: Hindi, Urdu and English
  • Currency: Indian Rupee (IDR / Rs)
  • Time zone: UTC + 5:30
  • Country dialing code: +91
  • Telephone area code: 0562
  • Average daily Agra January temperature: 21°C / 70°F
  • Average daily Agra July temperature: 34°C / 93°F

Tourist Place In Agra

Although many tourists choose to visit Agra as a day trip from New Delhi, there is really much more to see here that is possible in just one day. Especially popular in the Agra area are desert camel rides, the exciting 6-D Adlabs Cinema complex, the white-marble Moti Masjid (Pearl Mosque), and the magnificent Bageshwarnath Temple, located next to the Raja Ki Mandi Railway Station. Also worth visiting in Agra is Akbar's Mausoleum, which boasts three-storey minarets and many inquisitive, resident monkeys and brightly coloured parakeets.

Agra is blessed with an array of spectacular landmarks, including some of India's finest, such as the Persian-style Chini Ka Rauza and the elaborate Soami Bagh Samadh mausoleum. Famous throughout India is the red-sandstone Agra Fort, which is simply enormous and located on the banks of the winding Yamuna River, dating back to 1565. Affording great photo opportunities, the Itmad-Ud-Daulah's Tomb is often referred to as the 'Baby Taj Mahal', since it bears a striking resemblance to the Taj, only on a much smaller scale.


Taj Mahal

Agra Taj Mahal Taj Mahal of India - "the epitome of love", "a monument of immeasurable beauty". The beauty of this magnificent monument is such that it is beyond the scope of words. The thoughts that come into the mind while watching the Taj Mahal of Agra is not just its phenomenal beauty, but the immense love which was the reason behind its construction. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan got this monument constructed in the memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, with whom he fell in love at the first sight. The very first sight of the Taj Mahal, the epitome of love and romance leaves one mesmerized.     Standing majestically on the banks of River Yamuna, the Taj Mahal is synonymous with love and romance. It is believed that the name "Taj Mahal" was derived from the name of Shah Jahan wife Mumtaz Mahal and means "Crown Palace". The purity of the white marble, the exquisite ornamentation, precious gemstones used and its picturesque location, all make Taj Mahal travel gain a place amongst the most popular ones. However, unless and until, one knows the love story behind the Tajmahal of India, it will come up as just a beautiful building. But, the love behind this outstanding monument is what has given a life to this monument.


Agra Fort
Agra FortThe great Mughal Emperor Akbar commissioned the construction of the Agra Fort in 1565 A.D., although additions were made till the time of his grandson Shah Jahan. The forbidding exteriors of this fort height an inner pardise. The fort is crescent shaped, flattened on the east with a long, nearly straight wall facing the river. It has a total perimeter of 2.4 k.m., and is ringed by double castellated ramparts of red sandstone punctuated at regular intervals by bastions. A 9 mt. wide and 10 mt. deep moat surround the outer wall. There are number of exquisite building like the Moti Masjid-a white marvel mosque akin to a perfect pearl, Diwan-e-Am, Diwan-e-Khaas, Jehangir's Palace, Khaas Mahal, Shish Mahal and Musamman or Samman Burj-where Shahjahan was held captive in 1666 A.D.


Sikandra
Sikandra AgraFour kilometers from Agra is the mausoleum of Akbar. Construction of this beautiful monument was started by Akbar himself. This structure is a perfect blend of Hindu, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, Jain motifs. But Akbar died before his mausoleum could be completed and his son Jehangir completed it.
Jehangir made many modifications in the original plan of the building. The structure gives an excellent idea as to how the Moghal art was developing. From the Humayun's tomb in Delhi to Akbar's Tomb in Sikandra finally to the Taj Mahal. Sikandra is named after Sikander Lodhi. The tomb has three-storey-minarets on its four corners. These minarets are built in red sandstone with stunning inlay work of marble.



Fatehpur Sikri
Fatehpur Sikri AgraFatehpur Sikri is actually a historical capital city made out of twin village of Fatehpur and Sikri that are situated 45 odd kilometers from the city of Agra. The city is situated amidst barren ridge. Emperor Akbar established this city, to serve jointly with Agra, as the imperial capital of Mogul empire. The story of this 4 centuries old city is no less interesting than the city itself.
    It has been reported through the chronicles of History that Emperor Akbar had no issues and that's why his laments new no bound. Somebody advised him to ask for an audience with the famous Sufi saint, Khwaza Salim Chisti who resided at Sikri village. He walked the distance with the royal entourage. Salim Chisti blessed him with a son who was named Salim in reverence to the saint. The same prince when sat on the throne, re-christened himself to Jahangir Jahandar. Akbar ordered to build the city of Sikri to commemorate the arrival of the prince.



Mariam Zamani Tomb
Mariam Zamani AgraMariam Zamani was the Rajput wife of Akbar, and the mother of Jahangir. The mausoleum was built by Jahangir in 1623 in Sikandra. A large garden encompasses the tomb, which is built on a raised platform accessed by a flight of stairs from its northern and southern sides. Brick and mortar have been used in the construction, which is characterized by broad arches and vaulted roofs. A cenotaph is placed just above the tomb, and another, made of marble on the terrace. Stairways lead to the rooms on the next level, and the terrace above, which has four large cupolas on the four corners made of red sandstone.



Ram Bagh 
Ram Bagh AgraThe first Mughal gardens laid by Babur in 1558, half a km from Chini Ka Rauza, were planned carefully in Persian style. They were then named as Bagh-i-Gul Afshan. Later, Jehangir renovated them and named them as Bagh-i-Nur Afshan. Neglected for centuries, these gardens have now turned into wilderness and are known as Ram Bagh. Set to the south of Sarai of Nur Jehan, Babur introduced three-terraced garden here for the first time. The river-drawn water was made to look like a spring, as it artificially descended from one terrace to another through a network of canals, tanks and water chutes that had stairs on both sides ended in a red sandstone pond. The gardens were beautified using 'Chhatris', platforms, pathways and a conglomeration of plants that were cultivated in a landscaped manner. Jehangir had also built two beautiful suites on the two sides of the main terrace and a Mahtab or island platform in the centre, which was connected with the main water system. Ram Bagh symbolizes the erstwhile Mughal pleasure garden that hasn't aged gracefully unlike other legacies of that time.



Dayal Bagh Temple
Dayal Bagh TempleSwami Bagh Temple at Dayal Bagh is 10 km to the north of Agra. Started in 1904, it is still under construction even after 100 years! The white marble Samadhi of the Radha Swami, the founder of a unique religion that seeks to being all religions under one umbrella and preaches unity of mankind, the construction of this temple is not expected to be completed until sometime next century. If you want to witness the Pietra Dura inlaid marble work, you must visit the temple and walk to its sides to see the artisans at work. The aim of this structure is to build a temple for Hindus, a church for Christians, a gurudwara for Sikhs and a mosque for Muslims, each on a separate floor, in the same building, to symbolize brotherhood and unity in mankind. The artistic work here is wonderful and has an outstanding visual appeal. However, locals believe that perfect harmony between all the religions at once is impossible, so the building symbolizing it would never be complete and will be damaged anytime, it is close to being complete.


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